Massage Yourself for Stress Relief

Posted on April 21st, 2015 by Seth Nickinson

Most of us have massaged our own templates at some point to relieve a little tension. Amazingly, it seems to work. We all know that massage therapy can be incredibly relaxing and it has been shown to reduce pain.

Technique to Ease Headaches and Tension

temple rubThis simple technique comes from WebMD

  • Start by placing your thumbs on your cheekbones close to your ears, and use your fingertips to gently apply pressure and rub the temples (the soft spot between the corner of your eye and your ear).
  • Using very firm pressure and a tiny circular motion, gradually move your fingers up along your hairline until they meet in the middle of your forehead, massaging your entire forehead and scalp as you inch along.

and another:

Technique to Relieve Neck Tension
shoulder self massage

  • While you are sitting there at the computer, mold your hands over your shoulders. Exhale, letting your head drop back as you slowly squeeze your fingers towards your palms, gliding up the muscles of your back and shoulders towards your neck.
  • Now, rest your elbows on your desk, allowing your head to drop forward slightly. Massage your neck from your shoulders to the base of your skull using your fingertips to make small deep circles into the muscles on either side of your spine.
  • Place both hands on the back of your head, interlacing the fingers. Drop your head forward and allow the weight of your elbows to pull your head gently down, stretching the muscles of your neck and those that run down your back.

The UK’s Daily Mail also has a great 3-step summary of a nice neck massage:

You can read more of these writeups at WebMD.

Or even better, here is a video version of a self-given neck massage.

It’s not hard to figure out what feels good, but there is also a lot more science and specificity than you think to making it feel good. That’s why massage therapists receive extensive training. Some of you might appreciate this detailed, illustrated set of instructions (PDF) that outlines a combination of stretches, self-massage, and pressure points to relax stiff shoulders. Cover shot below.

shoulder shiatsu

Hope these techniques are helpful.

In a related post, we look at acupressure points to aid in stress relief.